Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 15:29 UK

New date set for Boscombe surf reef performance report

Boscombe seafront
Plymouth University has been enlisted as part of a 12-month review

The expert findings of a performance review of the £3m Boscombe artificial surf reef will be revealed next week, following an earlier postponement.

A Plymouth University team has been assessing the quality of waves enhanced by the underwater creation since it opened in November.

It will reveal its findings at a councillors' briefing on 17 May.

Bournemouth Council withheld a £150,000 payment from the reef's creator, ASR Ltd, until it is satisfied it works.

The findings will be discussed publically at a council cabinet meeting on 26 May.

It was due to be held in April but had to be postponed after Dr Mark Davidson, from the Plymouth University team, was stranded abroad because of the volcanic ash flight cancellations.

Mixed response

Plymouth University, which is home of the UK's first marine institute, has been assessing the quality of the waves and the number of days suitable for surfing since last September.

The information, part of a 12-month independent report, has been collected from on-site cameras and location visits which monitor the shape and power of breaking waves.

The £3m construction opened in November after a delay of more than a year and at nearly double the proposed cost.

There has been a mixed response to the reef's success from surfers.

The surf reef in the foreground
Sandbags used to create the surf reef are visible in low tide

It was created to improve surfing conditions using 55 sand-filled "geotextile bags" which are 225m (740ft) out to sea.

Figures expected to be revealed in the interim report include the number of "surfable" days, as well as the number of surfers recorded at both the pier and reef areas, compared with previous years.

Bournemouth Borough Council went ahead with the plan as part of an £11m overall regeneration of Boscombe, in an attempt to improve its rundown image and attract a new crowd of visitors.

The seafront promenade has been redeveloped with new restaurants and apartments.



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